Difference Between Printer and Plotter and Laser Printer

What is Printer?

The printer is a commonly used output device that is used to print text and images available in softcopy. Printers have been in practice for decades and used for commercial and as well as domestic purposes. They make it easier for people to make information in the text available in as many hard copies as they want. Different types of printers offer diverse functionalities.

The earliest model of a printer can be traced back to the 1800s when Charles Babbage invented it. Since then, it has undergone massive development and improvements. Nowadays, printers are readily available in the market and are surprisingly user-friendly in terms of working and costs. Major types of printers are inkjet printers, 3D printers, laser printers, et cetera.

What is Plotter?

The plotter is a peripheral device that draws using computer commands. They are used to draw continuous lines, shapes, and patterns and also to fill colors and gradients in them. The plotter works in parallel with commands provided by the computer. They have a wide array of applications, from fields of design to engineering. The scope of a plotter ranges from paper to vinyl – in printing surfaces.

There are many advantages of a plotter. It creates high-resolution images, drawings, and shapes and can be used for large-scale design and printing projects. As for the details, plotters are highly capable of detailed images. Many types of plotters are there: drum plotters, inkjet plotters, flatbed plotters, and electrostatic plotters – each designed with specific functionality.

What is Laser Printer?

The laser printer is the most advanced and efficient type of printer. They have so far proven highly capable of printing with quality, durability, and clarity. In terms of speed, a laser printer can print multiple pages in a matter of seconds. They are also quite economical, bear a one-time cost, and do not even bear high maintenance costs. Laser printers do not produce creepy noise while printing.

In laser printing, toner particles are attracted using a charge, and it is then moved onto the roller. The same particles are then pasted on the paper and are heated and pressurized to get fully imprinted. Laser printers give sharp prints with more clarity. As for colors, they provide more vivid colors than other types of printers. Their printing capacity is, until now, unmatched by any other printer.

Difference Between Printer and Plotter and Laser Printer

  1. A printer is a device to print text & images; a plotter is used to draw; a laser printer is a printer with improved features.
  2. “Printer” is a general term for all printing devices; a plotter is a large-sized printer; a laser printer is the most efficient printer.
  3. A printer prints smaller pages; a plotter works on larger surfaces; a laser printer works on smaller pages for improved quality.
  4. The printer was invented in the 1800s; the plotter was invented in 1953; laser printer was invented in 1969.
  5. Printers are inkjet, 3D printers, et cetera; plotters are drum, inkjet, flat plotters, et cetera; laser printers can be monochrome, compact, et cetera.

Comparison Table Between Printer and Plotter and Laser Printer

Parameters of ComparisonPrinterPlotterLaser Printer
DefinitionDevice to print texts and imagesDevice to draw drawings and shapesThe printer that has improved features
ScopeSmall PaperLarger Paper & Vinyl SheetsSmall Paper
Invented In1800s19531969
EfficiencyMay VaryHighHigh
Types3D, Inkjet, LaserFlatbed, Inkjet, DrumMonochrome, Compact, Color Laser


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4806207/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5388473/